This is the next post in a series of articles intended to provide a basic overview of the legal process for victims of personal injuries in Laredo and other areas of Texas. My previous post discussed what personal injury victims may expect from the litigation process. As discussed throughout this series, personal injury cases can present complicated factual and legal issues. Depending upon the injuries involved and the nature of the case, settlement negotiations and lawsuits can take a significant amount of time to resolve. For all of these reasons, it is extremely important to carefully consider which attorney or law firm will represent your interests in a personal injury case. In this article, I will review several considerations for plaintiffs to assist them when choosing a lawyer. If you or a loved one needs assistance, please contact my office to schedule a consultation today.
When faced with a catastrophic personal injury case, families can be emotionally and financially overwhelmed. Loss of the victim’s wages, medical or funeral bills, and other damages can be devastating. Facing the additional costs associated with initiating a lawsuit creates even more anxiety. In most cases, law firms who handle personal injury cases typically do so on a contingency fee basis. This means the law firm absorbs the costs of preparing the case on the client’s behalf and is paid at the conclusion of the case, either through the settlement or litigation award of damages. This includes the fees charged by the attorneys and staff working on the case, expert witnesses, investigators, filing fees, travel expenses and more. As discussed earlier in this series, multiple experts may be required to prove the liability of defendants and amount of damages. Depending upon the nature of the injuries and complexity of the case, it is not unusual for a case to last for several years. Fees in these cases can be more than $1 million dollars. It is important, therefore to retain counsel with significant financial resources to represent the client’s interest through the conclusion of the case.
Another important consideration when selecting counsel is the law firm’s willingness to take the case to trial. Some law firms limit their representation to the settlement phase of the case. This means they work with the insurance company in an attempt to reach a settlement, but if unsuccessful, will not continue representing their client during the lawsuit. Not only will changing counsel in the middle of a case be a serious disruption, it can damage the case itself. For example, if the firm had no intention of proceeding to trial, they may not have gathered or preserved evidence necessary for the lawsuit early in the process. In addition, a “settlement-only” firm may be likely to recommend a settlement offer that is less than what a victim may recover at trial. For these reasons, victims should ask potential law firms up front about their willingness to litigate a personal injury case.
My firm has extensive experience representing clients in personal injury cases. We have the financial resources necessary to handle such cases and are willing to see personal injury cases through trial. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak to a Laredo attorney. I also serve clients in other areas of south Texas.